My deepest hope and dream in writing this is that I may save some of you from many days of cloth diaper research. Research that may only end in typing detrimentally incorrect terms into your search bar (such as “Mother Eve” instead of “Mother Ease”). Kinds of typos which may or may not result in the inadvertent retrieval of Inappropriate Websites…and ultimately a virus-ridden PC that the Disapproving Computer Guy refuses to fix and will eventually have to trash.
So what I’m saying is, if you are new to the idea of cloth diapers and you don’t want to buy a new computer, this might help.
I’m revisiting a diaper mentioned in my first cloth post: the all-in-one diaper. (AKA, the “AIO” for all the crunchy lingo peeps.)
The AIO should be re-named “the diaper that works exactly like a disposable except it’s made of cloth and you throw it in the wash instead of the trash.”
Because that’s what it is.
I know…I really hoped it would be more sophisticated so I could sound real smart when I explained the acronym.
There are lots o’ brands of all-in-one cloth diapers out there, and every diaper company has their own special version of it that they want to sell you, which is part of what makes buying cloth so dizzying. (The ones pictured are Bum Genius Elementals.)
If you don’t know what to do first, start with purchasing a Bum Genius diaper. They’re pioneers in the modern CD movement as far as I’m concerned, so they’re pretty solid . They make an array of different cloth diapers that will fit almost anyone’s style or budget. (I’m not getting paid to say this, just saving you from a bunch of grief…and perhaps the accidental retrieval of Inappropriate Websites.)
95% of my stash is Bum Genius Elementals (purchased over time, many pre-loved). It is on the pricier side of the cloth spectrum, but worth every penny. Jon and Sherry Petersik of the blog Young House Love diapered their daughter Clara with just twelve Bum Genius Elementals. (You should definitely read about that here).
So why would you choose an AIO diaper over other types?
Ease. Easy on, easy off, easy to wash. Like this: you put it on your baby. The baby poops or pees in it. Ya take it off. Then you wash it. My ten-year-old niece changes them for me all the time. She’ll holler from the changing table, “Cloth or paper, Auntie Rachael?”
Simplicity. It is all one piece, (hence, it’s name) which as far as I’m concerned makes it the most mindless thing to grab at 5 am (or any time of day for that matter) when you are half asleep maneuvering the limbs of a small human and don’t have the patience to finesse multiple diaper pieces. It’s the diaper I want to toss in my bag when I am running out the door.
Fibers. Most AIO diapers on the market are made of a natural fiber, usually cotton. The great thing about cotton is that it does not trap smells as man-made fibers tend to do. Organic cotton is beautifully absorbent and also very gentle on baby’s sensitive skin. (It feels like a soft t-shirt inside.)
Fit. It’s trim. AIO diapers are more trim than many other types because all the pieces are sewn together into a single article. The thing that ended up making this diaper my favorite is the minimization of what is known as “cloth diaper butt.” While still sufficiently fluffy, it also looks cute under all our adorable baby outfits.
Size. The diaper pictured below is a “one-size” diaper. Most popular cloth diapers are. “One-size” is just that. It’s a diaper that grows with your baby. Your kiddo can wear this from about eight weeks old right in to toddlerhood. (Mine wore these for 2.5 years before she switched to panties.) I was skeptical at first as to whether they could actually pull this “one size” thing off without it being awkward, but they did. This one snaps into three different sizes. I diapered two babies 21 months apart using the exact same diaper on different settings. (You can read about that right here.)
There are cons too (of course).
Moisture. Your baby can feel wetness on their skin much easier with a natural fiber. This may irritate some baby’s skin, especially over long periods like nap time or overnight. (Choosing the right fiber for your babe’s skin can take some trial and error, but organic cotton is a good all-around starter for most.)
Durability. My AIO cotton diapers are the first diapers in my stash to begin breaking down and I’ve had similar reports from other friends. (Though I do give it props for heavy usage around here). The cotton tends wear and develop holes as it pulls away from the waterproof cover. Kind of like an old t-shirt. But the hole-y diapers in my stash have been used hard for almost three years and are still going. (As weird as this sounds, the diapers with holes still work just fine.) I’d turn around and buy another stash of Elementals in a heartbeat. That’s how much I like them.
Most all-in-one diapers use snaps, which are far more durable than Velcro. Velcro will bite you. I run far, far away from Velcro enclosures, and Velcro in general…but that’s another story for another time.
Dry Time. Since this diaper is just one thick piece, the dry time is a little longer. This is bothersome to some people but has never really been a blip on my radar.
And that’s it! The AIO diaper. It’s that simple.
As for the Elemental, I didn’t buy this diaper until we were about five months in to our cloth experience because the word “organic” (you know, before I was an Organic Person) and the $24.00 price tag scared me away. When I finally bought one, it ended up being the only diaper I wanted to use. Now I’m a believer. I’d rather have a smaller stash of nicer diapers (say, 12 of these) than a big stash of mediocre ones.
Now ask questions and post your opinions! Or balance out my positive enthusiasm and add some cons to my list!